AFRICAN PHILANTHROPY FOR AFRICA IS THE FUTURE
BY TONY KWAME ANSAH, JR.
There has been large amounts of charity, donations, and philanthropy going to and from Africa post-colonial era for decades. Those that have gone to Africa were via corporations, foundations, institutions, etc. Those that have come from Africa were via foundations, groups, and individuals, etc.
Foreign-born and raised giving has gotten more mainstream recognition. However, homegrown and raised giving has gotten less mainstream recognition. In between these 2 worlds, the African Diaspora and Allies of Africa have a greater chance to design and develop a better way of giving that’s sustainable across the board.
Charity, Donations, and Philanthropy are going to Africa primarily through big corporations, global foundations, and multinational institutions. From the year 2000 until present, the Foundation Center reported the number of US foundations giving to Africa was 135 in 2002 and 248 in 2012. Their amount of funding was $289 million in 2002 and $1.46 billion in 2012. They gave to 36 of the 54 African countries. However, these figures do not include the in-kind forms of philanthropy that most Africans receive and depend on.
Charity, Donations, and Philanthropy are coming from Africa primarily through local foundations, community groups, and wealthy individuals. In modern day Africa, money is typically donated by way of high net worth Africans making donations to institutions or causes, local organizations find ways to raise funds from a variety of sources, or a community pools resources together to tackle their own challenges. These are all local solutions to deal with local problems. For instance, the Safaricom Foundation based in Kenya invests in various sectors, such as health, education, economic empowerment, water, technology, and disaster relief for its fellow Kenyan citizenry.
The most notable U.S. organizations that have given millions to billions of dollars to the continent include: Gates Foundation, Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Open Society Foundations, Howard G. Buffett Foundation, and other private sector foundations. Many of these foundations choose to fund multinational institutions, such as the World Health Organization, which has several programs throughout Africa. While private foundations receive most of the attention for U.S. giving to Africa, tax exempt charities that sponsor donor advised funds and U.S. based nonprofits that have operations in Africa are also playing a significant role too.
The most notable African men that are of high net worth giving back are: Aliko Dangote and Dangote Foundation in Nigeria, Nicky Oppenheimer and Brenthurst Foundation in South Africa, Patrice Motsepe and Motsepe Foundation in South Africa, Mohammed Dewji and Mo Dewji Foundation in Tanzania, and Strive Masiyiwa and Higher Life Foundation in Zimbabwe. The most notable African women that are of high net worth giving back are: Olajumoke Adenowo and Awesome Treasures Foundation in Nigeria, Ndidi Nwuneli and LEAP Africa in Nigeria, and Tsitsi Masiyiwa and Higherlife Foundation in Zimbabwe. All these foundations are funding and supporting programs and projects in their local countries of origin respectively.
The global & formal approach to Africa has been mainly focused on providing funds and conducting research towards programs related to health, environment, agriculture, education, sanitation, hunger, family planning, disaster relief, and institutional capacity. The beneficiaries of such funds are children, youth, women, girls, people with disabilities, and people with HIV/AIDS. The countries that received the most grants have been Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and South Africa.
The local & informal approach from Africa is mainly specialized and highly directed by time and labor put in by benevolent everyday Africans to solve problems related to health, education, economic empowerment, water, technology, and disaster relief. The beneficiaries of such benevolence are unemployed women, underprivileged kids, needy entrepreneurs, disabled individuals, elder folks, and so on. The poorest African countries that need the most help and support are Zimbabwe, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Liberia, and Niger.
Foreign-born and raised giving tends to get more mainstream recognition worldwide. Those in the U.S. have helped with increasing access to food, energy and water. Their able to utilize abundance of resources (academic and technological) to assist those in Africa that are less privileged than them. Ironically, Africa has plenty of food, energy and water to take care of itself. However, many Africans are hungry, thirsty, and lack electricity because of the global economy and distribution of resources tend to favor the developed world.
Homegrown and raised giving tends to get less mainstream recognition worldwide. Africans in Africa have also helped increasing access to food, energy and water. Their able to utilize traditional funding methods (Harambees, Tontines and Susu) to assist those in Africa that are less privileged or impoverished (http://ayibamagazine.com/afrilanthropy-why-african-philanthropy-needs-its-own-name/). Although Africa has plenty of food, energy and water to take care of itself, many Africans are hungry, thirsty, and lack electricity because the local and global economy and distribution of resources are not typically in their favor.
The African Diaspora and Allies of Africa have a greater chance to design and develop a better way of giving that’s sustainable across the board. Reason being, the most effective form of philanthropy in Africa will most likely come from those that are deeply and genuinely passionate about engaging on-the-ground to empower the local communities to be integral players in progressive initiatives and programs.
The power of homemade philanthropy and its ability to bring positive change, empower native Africans, and develop long-term solutions that benefit everyone is central to Africa’s prosperous future. Thus, Africans who traveled abroad, live overseas, and gave birth to kids outside of Africa are in pivotal position to use their cultural and traditional intelligence of the Motherland to package and deliver philanthropy that’s much more effective and efficient than it is today.
Control and power of this narrative is very imperative to future developments and progress of Africa, especially when it comes to attaining social impact and financial independence throughout the continent.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tony K Ansah, Jr. is a self-published author, a public administrator by profession, and a social entrepreneur based in Rhode Island, U.S.A. He is also the founder and owner of Ansah Africa, a consulting and marketing startup established in 2017.
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